There is no doubt that the generous gifts to the Inspiring Lives & Leadership campaign have made a positive difference on campus. While the campaign has provided resources for a variety of key projects, one is a favorite new tradition on campus: the Loras Legacy Symposium. The inaugural event was held in 2014.
This year's event features the work of 355 students and 23 faculty members representing every major at the College.
Provost Cheryl Jacobsen, Ph.D., said of the symposium, "For students, it is an opportunity to present their best work in a professional conference. It is also an opportunity for students to support and congratulate their peers—and to be proud of the educational experiences Loras Colleges offers them. For faculty and staff, it is an opportunity to see the quality and diversity of the intellectual and creative work of the whole College, and an opportunity to model life-long engagement with learning and creative pursuits."
The symposium was made possible through the generosity of a single donor: Monsignor James Barta, a 1952 Loras graduate and former Loras College president.
"I am one person among many contributing to the stability of the College. By increasing the financial stability of the College, we continue to make possible and expand all of the very good things Loras does as a faith-based college," said Barta.
While the Legacy Symposium is providing a forum for academic dialogue, other donations are ensuring Loras students shine against regional and national level contenders from Ivy League and major state institutions. With your support, Loras students and programs consistently end up in the national spotlight.
One gift funded an initiative that continues to gain national attention and provide students with unique experience - the Loras College Poll, directed by Chris Budzisz, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, with assistance from Matt Rissler, Ph.D., associate professor
of mathematics. To date, the poll has registered more international and domestic media attention than any other initiative at Loras.
"The Loras College Poll commenced in the spring of 2014. In that year, we released seven surveys and garnered significant state, regional and national media attention," Budzisz remarked.
The Loras College Poll results have appeared in online and print publications across the country, including USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, CNN and MSNBC. In addition, the Loras College Poll has influenced the predictive models of statistician and author Nate Silver and Princeton University's Sam Wang. "We have even made international reporting in places such as China, India and Spain. In short, it has been a remarkable first year," Budzisz commented.
Funded through an anonymous gift, this public opinion survey program provides rich, first-hand experience for students in a variety of majors including politics, analytics and sociology. The poll will continue to take advantage of Loras' location in Iowa, as a key caucus state, surveying current events, social and economic issues, politics and more.
"At the heart of the Poll is the group of student researchers who assist the team with creating the questions, as well as analyzing and publishing results. It is a truly unique experience for students as they learn about survey methodology first-hand, and it is an opportunity that is only made possible by the generosity of donors," Budzisz remarked. "The Loras College Poll is an example of how Loras is providing the type of student experience that makes this place so special."
To make a gift in support of academic programs, contact Mark Brewer in the Development Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (563) 588-4985.